Mars is so small because Jupiter shook up its formation

In the article “” the author talks about how that Mars may be much smaller than we think due to Jupiter “beating it up” when Mars was first forming. Models of our Solar system suggest that Mars mass is 1.5 to 2 times larger than Earths, when really Mars weighs one tenth of Earths Mass. They talk about how an older theory has resurfaced to help explain why this is the case. The new theory says that gas that was left over from the formation of Jupiter had interfered with the rocks that created Mars, causing them to fall apart instead of clump together. The article further talks about how The gas giants were formed by accreting gas from the protoplanetary disc that surrounded the Sun. And as they grew, the gravity started to create more of an impact than the remaining disc on Mars, while it was still forming. Mars then had a tug of war game going on with it while the disc’s gravity pulled the protoplanets’ axes of rotation in one direction. And the gravity from Jupiter tugged them the opposite direction. So when  the competing forces balance in a certain way, the protoplanets felt a kick from Jupiter’s gravity at the same point in their orbit around the Sun. This is an effect known as, sweeping resonance.

Our Objective, be able to describe the nature of our solar system and how it was formed, relates to this article because it talks about how Mars and Jupiter were formed, which relates to the class lecture tutorial “Temperature and Formation of Our Solar System”. This relates to this lecture because  in it we learned that the planets divide clearly into two groups. First group, Jupiter, is a jovian planet, which are giant gaseous planets that have similar in overall composition to Jupiter.  The second group, Mars, is a terrestrial planet, which are rocky planets that have similar in overall composition to Earth. In the tutorial it says, jovian planets form at temperatures cooler than the freezing point of water and at a distance of 3AU and higher from the Sun. And that Terrestrial planets form at temperatures hotter than the boiling point of water and at a distance of 0 to 2AU from the Sun. The article also mentions a protoplanetary disc surrounding the Sun. In class we learned that the solar system formed from the gravitational collapse of a great cloud of gas and dust. And that our solar system began with a disk of material surrounding a young star and all the leftover material that can form planets. The fact that our solar system began as a spinning disk of gas and dust explains the orderly motions we observe today.

I liked this article because I thought it was fairly straight forward and covered most of what we did in class which really makes it a lot easier to read and write about for a post. Over all I thought the article we interesting and very helpful. I wonder that if Jupiter was able to cause these kind of problems for Mars could this have happened to other planets in our Solar System.


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